Interview: CC Hunter

NRR: Can you share with us how you got started into writing?

C.C.:  Good question.  I know a lot of writers who claim they were born with a pen in their hands, already trying to clean up their first drafts.  It wasn’t like for me.  I’m dyslexic.  I didn’t learn how to read until about the third grade, I’m a terrible speller and often I get words and sentences backwards.  School was hard, so I didn’t entertain the idea of being a writer early on.  However, along with the hardships of dyslexia, come a few gifts.  I was very intuitive, picked up on people’s emotions, and often fed those extra emotions into my imagination.  By thirteen, I was creating stories the size of novels in my head, but I still didn’t dream of writing them down.  It wasn’t until I was 23 and my new hubby suggested I go back to school to become a teacher that I admitted I sort of would like to try my hand at writing.  It took a lot of learning to get my stories on paper.  But a short ten years later, (Yes, I mean that tongue and cheek) I published my first book—a Silhouette Romance. When I had trouble selling the second novel, I went into writing for magazines.  I worked full-time as a photojournalist for several years.  In 2000, I decided to go back and try my hand at writing novels again. It took me six years to break back in. By that time, I’d written eight complete novels and six proposals.  But the day I sold, I sold four books.  One of my biggest achievements occurred a year later when Faye Hughes and I sold a how-to book on writing, called The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel.  And I haven’t stopped writing books since then.  I consider myself very lucky to do what I love for a living.

NRR: What made you decide to write in YA genre?

C.C.:  As a writer, I love writing stories of all kinds.  However, writing Young Adult wasn’t really a path I was on, but more like an adventure I stumbled upon as I was pursuing my dream of writing.  I’ve always loved ghost stories.  I actually wrote one romance with a ghost story subplot.  Then, several years back, before I sold my first humorous romantic suspense to Dorchester, I had written a humorous paranormal romance.  I loved writing it, too.  And while it didn’t sell, it caught the attention of several editors.  One of those editors was Rose Hilliard with St. Martin’s Press.  

A couple of years later, Rose actually approached me and asked if I would be interested in trying my hand at writing a YA paranormal series.  The thought scared the poo out of me and that’s what closed the deal.  I mean, any time something really scares me, it sparks my stubborn dyslexic spirit and I feel as I have to give it a shot, or I’ll be stamped with the wimp logo.  And I’m not a wimp!  So I went for it.

Rose actually said she thought of me to write YA because my writing tone was . . . smartass.  (Can I say that on this blog?)  I told her, “You know what, my mama told me that being a smartass would never get me anywhere.”  And it looks like my mama was wrong.  I love writing YA paranormal romances.  I’m able to bring my love of ghosts and my love of all the woo-woo paranormal stuff to this series.  I’m having a blast.  

NRR: What is your guilty pleasure?

C.C.:  I’m a wine lover.  Give me a good Cabernet and some cheese, add a good book to that evening, and I’m in heaven.

NRR: How were you inspired to write the Shadow Falls series?

C.C.:  Well, Rose actually had the idea of a paranormal summer camp.  I spent a good week taking a mental trip down Memory Lane and revisiting my youth.  I recalled all the things that were important to me at that age, all the issues I dealt with, and used them to help me create my array of characters for the series.   So many of the issues I write about in the books are issues I lived through. My parents got a divorce, I was the wallflower at school, I loved a boyfriend but I didn’t want to go all the way, I was dyslexic, and I had some eerie experiences.  By eerie, I mean I felt I had come in contact with a few ghosts.  So the beginning inspiration really stemmed from Rose’s two-word idea, and the rest I pulled from my life and experiences. 

NRR: Can you tell us about Born At Midnight (of course no spoilers)?

C.C.:  The story really is one of self-discovery.  Kylie Galen’s life is going into the toilet.  When she starts seeing people that no one else can see, her mom forces her to go see a shrink.  The doc, who is a fairy, recognizes that Kylie isn’t just human.  Sent to Shadow Falls and believing it’s a camp for troubled kids, Kylie learns there’s a vast array of supernatural species living among them, and the camp is the place for them to go to learn how to deal with their powers, and to learn how to get along with each other.  However, Kylie’s at a loss as to why she’s there. Until they inform her she’s one of them.  Kylie’s spent sixteen years trying to figure out who she is, only to learn she doesn’t know what she is.  And unfortunately, neither does any of the other supernaturals at Shadow Falls.  She’s never felt as if she fit in, and now she discovers she’s even a misfit at camp.  As she struggles to uncover what she is, she deals with romance and friendship. 

NRR: What is next in the works for you?

C.C.:  Well, Awake at Dawn, Book 2 in the Shadow Falls series, will be out in October, and I’m excited about that.  Right now, I’m working on my third book in the series and really loving it

In August as Christie Craig, I have Don’t Mess With Texas, the first humorous romantic suspense in my new series, Hotter In Texas, for Grand Central Publishing.  

This year I’ve started two new series with two new publishing houses.  I feel so fortunate to be where I am in my career.   I’m living my dream.

NRR:  Thank you for joining us!

CC:  And thank you for having me here at Nocturne Reads. I’d also like to invite everyone to join in my “Tweet My Book and Win a Kindle Contest” that is going on right now.  You can find all the details at my website, www.CCHunterBooks.com.

Now I’d like to ask your readers a question:  I shared a little bit about my path toward achieving my dream of being a full-time writer.  What about you?  What is a goal or dream you’re pursuing?  It doesn’t have to be about writing, I think whatever dream you dream is a dream worth having.

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